Obama Visit, Rockefeller Tree Lighting to Make Midtown Even More Unbearable Today

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The tree comin'.Photo: Spencer Platt/2011 Getty Images

Here is something really American: President Barack Obama will be in New York City for a fund-raiser today, which happens at the same time as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree-lighting extravaganza, making it more or less impossible to drive in midtown from about 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. (One traffic expert is calling it the "biggest gridlock alert day of the decade.") Obama, who is "still evolving" on gay marriage, will attend a "small reception to celebrate the progress in the LGBT community" at the Sheraton on Seventh Avenue, where tickets range from $10,000 to $35,800. To accommodate his travel plans, there will be "frozen zones" around the city starting at 5 p.m. The tree party features performances by Cee Lo Green and Michael Buble. Justin Bieber's part of the show was pre-recorded, so at least the city planned ahead.